Action Research Project – Implementing the Principles of Pupil Book Study
Throckley Primary School is delighted to be working alongside Benton Park Primary School and in collaboration with Newcastle Research School and Unity Research School on a research project based on the principles of Alex Bedford’s Pupil Book Study.
Together, we aim to:
- Improve the quality of teaching and learning through research-informed dialogic practice alongside robust evaluation utilising pupils and their books.
- Improve evidence-informed curriculum design.
- Strengthen and sharpen evaluation methods for school and subject leaders.
Pupil Book Study improves pupil outcomes by providing schools with a toolkit to drive accountable school improvement by monitoring and evaluating curriculum structures, teaching and learning outcomes. The ‘study’ itself is a systematic, research-informed toolkit that supports schools to evaluate the quality of the curriculum alongside teaching and learning by focusing on metacognitive talk and dialogic talk alongside evidence-led professional growth. As a methodology, it provides a structure to guide the participating teachers to a point of clarity; scaffolding their way with helpful rubrics, until such a point as participants feel confident to conduct the study under their own direction. Carefully developed frameworks, within the study, also support teachers to structure their reflections and findings; likewise, these provide leaders with helpful summaries of the data collected. Bringing pupils and teachers together in this way, to look directly at outcomes, in a systematic, well-timed, structured metacognitive and dialogic discussion, enables schools to identify areas of strength and also limitation.
The insights provided from pupil book study direct teachers and leaders to specific areas upon which to focus their improvement. It is the clarity of these insights which pave the way for improve pupil outcomes. Once areas for improvement have been identified, leaders and teachers are then directed to high quality CPD in evidence-informed practice focused around improving the quality of teaching and the quality of pupil participation or engagement. Over time, outcomes improve as leaders and teachers shift their focus to evidence-informed practice proven to help pupils progress and improve their attainment.
The research and evidence underpinning implementation is as follows:
- Dialogic Teaching – Robin Alexander
- Metacognition – EEF Guidance informed further by Zimmerman and Hacker’s research.
- Sweller’s Cognitive Load Theory
- Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction
- Fiorella and Mayer – Generative Learning model.
- Fletcher-Wood and Zuccollo, 2020 meta-study
- Cordingley, P. et al. (2015). Developing Great Teaching: Lessons from the international reviews into effective professional development.
The primary goal of our project is to better understand the pattern of pupil learning, particularly amongst vulnerable groups, and in doing so improve pupil outcomes. Targeted professional development and improved practice and systems will support the delivery of these improved outcomes.
By the end of the project, leaders and teachers will:
- be proficient in using and analysing the outcomes of pupil book study - following training, coaching and observation with Alex Bedford;
- have reconsidered curriculum design and implementation – informed by evidence-informed practice and research;
- be more familiar with evidence-informed practices that improve pupil outcomes;
- be more skilled in using and applying evidence-informed practice to improve day to day classroom practice;
- be accomplished in delivering and securing knowledge rich learning and retrieval amongst pupils;
- have engaged in a rigorous process of school to school, peer to peer moderation and evaluation to ensure and secure the accuracy of outcomes (this process of evaluation would be transferable and made available to other future Newcastle Research School projects);
- be, at the point of final evaluation, trained and accredited (middle & senior leaders) to provide pupil book study to a wider network of schools.
By the end of the project, pupils will be:
- able to talk and reflect metacognitively about their learning;
- practised in routines that help them retrieve and recall their learning – particularly knowledge and vocabulary;
- more accomplished speakers and listeners, with an increased language capability (EEF Improving Literacy in KS1 /2 recommendation)